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Terror attack with driverless cars foiled in UK after terrorists didn’t want to die

British police car. (Petr Kratochvil/Public Domain Pictures)
September 06, 2018

Two men from the U.K. planned to carry out a terror attack involving an explosive device and driverless cars.

Farhad Salah, 23, and Andy Star, 32, were taken into custody last December in England and charged with preparing an act of terrorism. They’d planned to use a driverless car to carry out the explosion while sparing themselves, The Telegraph reported Tuesday.

Prosecutor Anne Whyte QC said in Sheffield Crown Court: “The prosecution allege that Farhad Salah and Andy Star had decided that improvised explosive devices could be made and used in a way here in the UK that spared their own lives preferably but harmed others they considered to be infidels.”

She added that the two were ISIS supporters.

Salah entered the U.K. in 2014, but had not yet been granted asylum. Social media messages sent from Salah fully supported what the prosecutor told the courts, the New York Post reported.

Salah admitted his ultimate goal in a message: “My only attempt is to find a way to carry out martyrdom operation with cars without driver. Everything is perfect. Only the program is left.”

The prosecutor said that Salah had often stated a desire to travel to the Sham, referring to the “wide areas of the Middle East including Syria and Iraq, parts of which Islamic State had tried to occupy.”

In addition, Salah shared a lengthy propaganda video depicting executions, war scenes, and beheadings as an inspiration to fellow supporters.

Salah told a contact he would consider the caliph of Islamic State, Abu Bakr Baghdadi, to be a kafir (unbeliever) if he failed to live up to “the very high standards imposed by Salah’s radical and militant form of Islam,” Whyte said.

Salah also offered to send funds to a member of a Salafist jihadist militant group.

Star’s role in the plot was making an explosive device in his Chesterfield apartment.

“It is entirely conceivable that Andy Star’s extreme views developed a relatively short time before the events with which we are now concerned,” said Whyte.

When authorities raided Star’s apartment, they found three air rifles, two Samurai swords, a wine bottle full of sulfuric acid, homemade fireworks, a “variety of improvised homemade fuses,” gunpowder, and a “viable pyrotechnic fuse.”

Driverless cars are not new to ISIS, and have been under development since around 2016.

Instructional videos show remote-controlled vehicles equipped with mannequins and self-regulating thermostats which can avoid scanning devices that protect government and military buildings.

Star and Salah both deny the allegations. Their trial, which is expected to last about four weeks, resumes on Wednesday.